This is the official blog of Sgt Ellie Bloggs, a real live police sergeant on the front line of England. It's not the official opinion of my police force, but all the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't pay my salary.


(All proceeds from Google Ads will be donated to the Police Roll of Honour Trust)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stick 'em Up: It's a "Raid"

It never ceases to make me my blood boil when I read of another celebrity falling prey to police theatrics due to the time of his/her arrest. These arrests often occur between 4-7am, a time when any self-respecting white collar criminal will be tucked up in bed and should be left to sleep off the day's fraudulent activities.

Believe it or not, police officers often try to justify these early hours arrests by saying that the offender may try to flee, or to dispose of evidence, if they see the police coming. Whoever heard of such a thing? We all know that celebrities always comply with the police and would happily bring in their incriminating computers and all secret files to the police station at a reasonable hour to be interviewed.

Finally, just to clarify...

Police definition of "raid": An organised arrest or search warrant involving a team of officers who are method-of-entry trained, who have a formal briefing from a supervisor. They will possess maps of the address, intelligence documents, a box of exhibits labels and bags, a list of things to search for or people to arrest, and quite possibly latex gloves. They will surround the premises, bash in the door without knocking and charge into all rooms shouting "Police". Persons inside will be rounded up and detained while the property is systematically searched for whatever the object is.

Media defintion of "raid": Two or three uniformed officers who knock politely and ask for the relevant person, giving them time to have a drink, cigarette and inform their sleeping family before escorting them civilly into a waiting police car.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Know Your Place

You hear a lot these days about the loss of the Village Bobby. The Bobby Knew His Patch. He Knew the Criminals. The sense is that this mythical bobby used to snap his fingers and solve burglaries, robberies and vandalism without ever breaking his pen out of his pencil case.

I work on a team of 6-8 (depending on the time of year) response officers covering a town of 80-100,000 (depending on who's in charge of counting) residents. Our "Patch" is Blandmore and its surrounding villages. Admittedly, we don't walk down each street and catch people in the act of burgling all too often. But we most certainly DO know the local baddies. After about a year in any area, most response officers will know who the villains are. They'll probably even know which of them has done a particular crime.

The problem is, where the old finger-snapping used to be enough to haul Billy Burglar before the courts, now there are these pesky obstructions known as "evidence-gathering" and "the Codes of Practice" which get in the way of popping round to Billy's house and dragging him by the ear in front of a magistrate.

Despite this, the general consensus is that Bringing Back the Bobby is the way forwards. To this end, Blandshire Constabulary have "rolled out" Neighbourhood Policing across most of the force area. In understanding what this means, you should think of Blandshire's uniformed PCs as a kind of ball of dough. We are gradually being "rolled out" to cover every inch of our several counties.

The only trouble is, the dough is getting thinner and thinner in the process.



Ellie's not keen on the roll-out idea.








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Monday, November 26, 2007

The Great Blandmore Quiz

Due to over-crowding, Blandmore Borough Council have decided to introduce a quiz for prospective residents. I thought I'd pass on a sample of the questions:

1. How many times have you called the police?
A. Never.
B. Once or twice.
C. Maybe five or ten times.
D. Well over fifty and counting.

2. What is the ratio of fathers to children in your family?
A. 1:4
B. 2:3
C. 1:1
D. 3:1

3. What would you do if you found out your partner was secretly poisoning you?
A. Pack your bags, call the police and ask them to meet you at hospital where you will have every medical test under the sun and provide a full statement with a view to attending court.
B. Pack your bags and leave, and go straight to hospital.
C. Do nothing and hope it goes away.
D. Call the police immediately, but before their arrival go out shopping with your partner and the kids, and feel surprised when you find out later that officers have been to your house.

4. What constitutes a "good night out"?
A. Dinner and the theatre.
B. Dinner and/or a movie.
C. Pizza and beer.
D. Seventeen beers, a punch-up and two Penalty Notices for Disorder.

5. What, in your view, is the definition of "harassment"?
A. An axe-wielding freak following you around and sending you bizarre letters containing animal parts.
B. Someone of the opposite sex you turned down sitting outside your house day in day out and scaring off your new date.
C. Your ex-partner threatening to kill you and cutting up your stuff when you're out.
D. A conversation of thirty or forty texts between you and your current partner, in which the word 'gonna' appears at least twice.

Candidates selecting mostly Ds will be accepted into a Blandmore Council flat, with mostly Cs being expected to rent from a dishonest landlord. Mostly Bs should return to Gladtown from whence they came and those answering mostly As will be required to sign over half their income to those who answered Ds.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Virtual Justice

Those of you who have read my book will know that all the crime reports I investigate are held in a "virtual" docket. Every time I speak to a victim I record it virtually. Lists of stolen property, exhibits and discussions with the CPS or "Gateway" officers are all held in virtual form.

The idea is that if I am accused of any wrongdoing, I have an audit trail to prove I did it all correctly. It is commonly accepted that if it's recorded on the crime-reporting system, then it happened, because virtual information is always true. In other words, our system provides a virtual Arse-Cover for use in all situations. (If only my arse were virtual too, I would be happy.)


Sadly, at present, all this virtual stuff relates to real life crimes and criminals in the real world. But I anticipate an age when crime and justice is enacted virtually, with no need for anyone to actually rob or assault anyone at all. Earlier this month I read that Dutch police have arrested a teenager for stealing furniture from the Habbo Hotel.




This burglary isn't real. But it can still be used to show how we are reducing crime and disorder.




In case you are unaware, the Habbo Hotel in fact exists only online and is inhabited by virtual guests.
The contents of the rooms, however, are bought with real money, hence the theft. It will not be long before we can expect to see online criminal damages in these worlds, embezzlement of Sims, assault on the Habbo residents and maybe even virtual sexual offences. The great news is that we will be able to successfully prosecute everybody by merely seizing and analysing their hard drives to prove incontrovertible evidence that they did it. The not-so-great news is that we will be sending out the message that people who use real money to buy non-existent goods should be taken seriously.

Also, we may come up against the defence that the virtual character's artificial intelligence had taken over and in fact the hacker/controller had no control whatsoever. That would be an interesting case law...

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Friday, November 23, 2007

This Blog is Rated:

Thanks to TUPC, I have discovered a site that tells you how your Blog is rated.

Most police blogs I have checked, including the "greats" here and here, are rated for General Audiences or PG.

It will not surprise my regular readers to know that:

free dating sites

This is due to the presence of the words "rape" (x8) and "bitch" (x1).

It only goes to show if you want true grit and reality, or just to be downright offended, there's no better police blog on the Net.

Bitch bitch bitch.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Them racist coppers again:


Apparently PCSO Steve is too white and male. To be quite frank, he is VERY white. "Male" is less apparent. Still, this fellow is apparently based on a real PCSO, ironically named Stephen King. I certainly felt a chill of horror when I clicked around the BBC website and saw him staring back at me.

Once again, the Met have been accused of failing to take into account minority communities, yada yada yada. Did anyone even consider that there could be a petite female Asian officer inside the above suit? I am just sick of the anti-racist brigade. I mean, it doesn't seem to matter how many Inquiries, Reports, Commissions or Policies come about, people STILL want the police to be less racist. They consistently fail to take into account the massive strides police forces have taken against racism.

For example:
  • Blandshire Constabulary now teaches Diversity lessons even to Black and Asian officers!
  • Only one, ONE innocent person has been shot recently in the name of Arab terrorism.
  • Police applicants get questioned in detail on their racist attitudes. Those officers declaring they would carry out systematic extermination of ethnic minorities will generally NOT be allowed into the force, and instead will have to reapply in six months when they have more life experience.
  • There are now more options than ever on the list of "Ethnic Classifications".
It's time for the lobbyists to find something NEW to attack us over. For example, our carbon footprints. It's a disgrace that police officers are allowed to leave lights on in the stairwells and corridors of their 24hr police stations, and I commend the civilian staff who switch them off at 5pm each day just as I close the basement locker-room door behind me.

[If I was FORCED to recommend a few simple steps the police could take to erradicate racism in their ranks, they would be:
  • Include a check-box on the stop-and-account form to be ticked if the stop was carried out due to the person's skin colour alone.
  • Include a check-box on the police application form to tick if the applicant is racist.
  • Place large inflatable white male PCSO Steves by the door to every nick and encourage officers to burst them with pins as they enter.]
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Monday, November 19, 2007

A Meeting of Mimes

The life of a police blogger can be a double-edged sword.


On the one hand, you get to communicate with fellow-minded and abusive readers the world over, publish all kinds of crap you thought you could never say out loud, earn hard cash from said publications, and nudge on the beginnings of political change in this country. On the other hand, what's any of it for if you can't claim the credit?


I am excited, therefore, to announce that in about a month's time I will be chinning back some beers (or delicately sipping at some mulled wine, depending on how things go), with none other than the esteemed Inspector Gadget.

I suspect that Gadget isn't exactly like me. He's a lot older, for a start. And A LOT maler. He's got a somewhat bigger vocabulary, probably a much bigger car, and has far more people calling him "sir" every day.

But we do have something in common. We both spend our day fuming about the decay of commonsense, the sad waste of human potential, the even sadder waste of public money, and the political hypocrisy that drives it all. We get our hands dirty typing it furiously into our blogs, sharing it with the world, by turns angering or entertaining our readers and ourselves. We can do this with some authority, because by night, we are both out on the streets getting our hands even dirtier dealing with the reality of it.

We will be posting about the meeting after we've had it. And encouraging your feedback. This may be the start of a beautiful friendship.

















It's not about changing the world. To be honest, it's mostly about cracking a few jokes at the expense of reactionaries and bureaucrats. It's about showing you, the reader, what the police really do. WHY we do what we do and HOW. The rest is up to you.






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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bloods and Crisps

There a strong Gang Culture in Blandmore, believe it or not, with young folk gallivanting around brandishing knives, guns and all kinds. So we keep being told in our morning meetings, but I didn't really believe it until this week.

A robbery had just taken place in Upper Blandmore (otherwise known as the Porle estate), with a description of some offenders. I duly stop a guy who matches the description. He's a young black guy, and he's wearing the rather distinctive floral red bandanna described by our victim. After a minute of talking to him, I'm convinced that he has absolutely nothing to do with the robbery. In fact, I think he might be on the way to an oboe lesson. The clue is the oboe in a case across his back.

Before giving him his stop-check form and apologising for making him even later by filling it in, I ask him about the bandanna.

"It's for the Bloods, yeah."

It's not my finest hour, as I have no idea what he's talking about. "Bloods? What because it camouflages?"

"You know, the Bloods." He's loving my complete ignorance. "It's a big gang in LA, you know."

"And you're in that gang?"

"Yeah we're the Blandmore Bloods."

I realise at this point that it isn't just me who has no idea what a "real" gang is.

The kid goes on, touching a gold stud in the back of his baseball cap. "It's our uniform, yeah. The bandanna for the Bloods, and this - this stud's for the Crisps."

"The...?"

"The Crisps. Bloods AND Crisps. That way no one can touch us."

"That makes you feel safe, then?"

"Too right, it's scary out here if you're not in a gang."

"I see. You know... I think it's the Crips, not Crisps."

His jaw drops. "Huh?"

"Never mind." I give him his form and he wanders off happily to his oboe lesson.

I do wish more gang members were like that. If they were, we might have more nights like this, and less like this.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

In case you missed the commenter providing a link to this story, here it is again.

I'll add that to my list of how to keep rape allegations down. Who says the Saudis don't know how to run a country!

I've also been having a bit of a rant at Melanie Phillips, if anyone's interested.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Unsolved/Unsolvable... same difference.

Over on the blog of the Artist Formerly Known as Dave is a link to a Telegraph article about crimes that get screened out. There are some angry and lengthy comments mainly by Mops (Members of Public) on it which are worth a read if you have your seatbelt on.

In Blandshire, crimes will be screened out if:
  • It is criminal damage or theft AND
  • There is no named offender AND
  • There is no CCTV AND
  • There is no forensic potential (eg stone through window, handbag left unattended etc) AND
  • It's not domestic AND
  • No one thinks it's racist.
In all other cases, an officer will attend OR a civilian will investigate from their desk. The latter usually applies to cases where there are no forensics and/or it is a simple matter of circulating CCTV photos to police officers to see if they recognise anyone.

This state of affairs has quite rightly been labelled disastrous. Police should be able to detect crime even when the offender has left absolutely no evidence behind whatsoever. I would like to see more of a Can-Do attitude. For example, why do police not use divination and/or spirit guides to trace these criminals? I would much rather spend my day viewing broken windows and clicking with my tongue at the victim than I would doing proactive patrols for burglars or arresting criminals I DO know the name of.

Before the Anonymous brigade goes berserk, I do not support the belief that victims of crime should hide their property, stop talking on their mobiles or catch offenders themselves. And there ARE a lot of cases which could be solved if we had the resources and time to go to all lengths.

But just what exactly are we supposed to do in cases when there is no evidence, or where the committed crime is so minor (eg doughnut theft, egg thrown without damage) that there would never be a prosecution even if we did catch someone?

Ideas? Thoughts?







If the police don't come, here's another solution to a broken window...










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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rape should be illegal...

David Cameron thinks rape legislation should be tightened. I am not quite sure what his proposals are, but I agree that a 6% conviction rate is atrocious. I can suggest various methods of improving this, but the most effective will surely be to discourage people from reporting it in the first place. Ways to accomplish this surreptitiously might be:
  • Slap victims around the face until they admit they are lying.
  • Tell them, "It's your word against his anyway."
  • Ask, "Are you sure you didn't consent?" Some victims may not have realised that "rape" means they didn't want it.
  • Use a much bigger speculum.
One commenter thinks that having a blanket goal "to improve conviction rates" is nonsensical on its own. I don't really see his point, to be honest. We should improve all rates no matter what they relate to - it's the only way to prove that the police are doing their job.

There are some pretty awful stories about victims who felt let down by the police. The comments at the bottom of the Beeb's website are informative.

The common thread running through these tales of woe is that all the victims made the same mistake: they reported their rape to the police. There are other kinds of justice, you know. And if they fail, here's one way to make sure people believe you.


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Monday, November 12, 2007

Too sarcastic for everyone else's good

A Review in the Guardian.

The reviewer seems to think if I wasn't so sarcastic about racism, Mr de Menezes might not have been shot. The pen is indeed mightier than the Glock.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Oh Let's Legislate!

"It is illegal for a woman to be topless in Liverpool except as a clerk in a tropical fish store."

No, this was NOT voted the UK's most ludicrous law but third most. There's some amusing stuff in the above link, but I must protest about the validity of this so-called poll. The participants were obviously not shown the text of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

In other words, "You tried to stop a witness giving evidence."

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Resigned to Fate

I had no idea that all you needed to do to keep your job interminably in the police was Refuse to Resign. I no longer need to worry about making cock-ups at domestics, failing to protect witnesses nor need I bother to wear my tie, check the tyres on the police car or submit my court files in time (or even complete them at all). No matter what I do, it appears they can't get rid of me if I just keep refusing to resign.

Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned concept of SACKING?

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Eleven Words


Some Warks bobbies are in trouble over good old Domestic Violence. They visited a criminal damage incident (broken window, since you asked). The woman made no complaint, she seemed safe, they didn't arrest. Two days later he returned and brutally stabbed her to death.

The issue here is that they Did Not Follow Force Policy. We all know that Force Policies are Good and SAVE LIVES. Simply writing 11 words in a pocketbook is not good enough. You cannot possibly record anything meaningful or relevant in eleven words. Once again witness the callous attitude of Twenty-First Century Police Officers. Victims of domestic violence are playthings in their sad, sadistic world. They should have extracted this woman kicking and screaming from home . Then inserted her safely into a padded cell in the vicinity. Before inserting the male into a similar cell somewhere miles away. Instead they maliciously left the offender in reach of a knife. Moreover, failed to get his signature pledging not to murder anyone.

Personally, I feel sorry for Percy Wright, the real victim here. He's now subject to a hospital order thanks to these officers.

Also, apparently they did not even record or log the incident. Which begs the question, how are we even talking about it?

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PS Sorry for the poor quality of this post. It's the length of the sentences that's the problem.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Station Stereotypes: The New Detective

It is Angelo's first day in civvies*. After two and a half years hooning round with blue lights on, he has passed his Detective's board, defeating a grand total of one other candidate in the process (the other one being a traffic officer).

He has grand plans. No more will he have to deal with the common assault on the woman who got nudged by her husband into a sitting position. No more the twelve-year-old who pinched a gir's bum in the park and ran away giggling. No more the two stolen bicycles sold on Ebay. No more the bouncer who headbutted someone and broke their nose.

Angelo takes up his seat in the CID office with the proud air of a Real Police Officer. His sergeant approaches and hands over a pile of paper. It's a GBH. A woman was nudged by her husband into a sitting position. In the process she banged her head on a lamp and cracked her skull. Next he's assigned the twelve-year-old who stuck his hand inside a girl's pants in the park and ran away giggling. Then a complicated fraud involving three bicycle shops and an Ebay account. Finally, a bouncer who headbutted someone, then took out a knife and stabbed them.

By the end of the day, Angelo is a highly-trained detective. He now knows that a GBH is just a common assault with worse injuries. That a rape is just a bottom-pinch involving penetration. That fraud is just what you call it when it involves documentary evidence and big companies.

With this advanced knowledge, Angelo is now expected to scan computer logs for incidents that require his input. Whatever he types into the logs will be enacted by the uniformed officers at the scene, whether or not he was actually drinking a cup of tea when he typed it. Moreover, he is now competent to advise his former crew-mates and their sergeants on how best to package exhibits and write their statements. He is a font of all knowledge about major crime and critical incident handling. He can interview suspects ten times as effectively as when he was wearing a uniform.

Angelo finds an envelope in his docket. He retrieves it, runs his finger along the seal, and a post-it note falls out. His breath catches in his throat. He holds the note up, turns it over in his hands, clutches it to his chest and lets the joy flood through him. It is his authorisation code, his top security access, to that hallowed phrase: "It's not in our remit."

* Civvies = plain clothes

PS - did anyone else think it was a hilarious pun when they read today that "the body of a guy has been found in the embers of a bonfire"? Just me then...
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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Such a good girl...

Shanazza is SUCH a good girl. Shy and retiring, she would never be caught disrespecting an authority figure or bullying a younger child. She's good at school too, passing her GCSE Drama first time!

This her mother tells me as I lead Shanazza, in cuffs and leg restraints, from the police transit van. On seeing her daughter, the mother bursts into howls of dismay. "What have you done to my baby!" I wipe sweat off my forehead to find the back of my hand smudged with blood. It isn't Shanazza's. As four other officers disembark the transit and join me in the "air-lock" to custody, her mother mutters that it doesn't take five big brutes to arrest one little girl.



Shanazza is eleven. She's gonna get arrested every day for a month. Innit.





Shanazza is now shy and retiring. I might even go so far as to say she is mud-streaked and forlorn, like an abandoned puppy in the rain. She shivers as she stands in front of the custody sergeant, who asks her age and immediately orders us to remove her cuffs. Which we do. She winds her fingers together and stares down at them while the sergeant goes through the circumstances of the arrest. She is clearly humbled at her surroundings.

This wasn't the case an hour ago, when we were rolling in the mud at the side of Blandmore's Ring Road with her. She'd smashed up a phone-box and bitten a passing ex-marine who tried to detain her for it. When the police arrived she muttered "Game on" and smacked one fist into the palm of the other hand. Three well-aimed spits, a Reebok-in-the-face, five guttural roars (all from her) and ten minutes later, Shanazza was trussed up with velcro restraints and thrown bodily in the back of the transit van.

After three hours of paperwork, she is charged with criminal damage and assault on four police constables, a gaoler and the custody sergeant (who rather regretted the order to remove her cuffs so quickly). In court she'll once more look like a puppy in the rain, and the magistrates will imagine we were heavy-handed. We might even find ourselves subject to investigation for assaulting HER.

Today another "good girl" has been picked on by society. Read the comments from her family. Where can I find some parents like that? Respect.

On the subject of restraining people:
I'd love to be the guy grappling with the screaming woman: watch how his colleague assists him when she kicks off.


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NB: I take no responsibility for the hugely offensive comments on the above video on Youtube!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thank goodness, now the Met has been found guilty of breaching Health and Safety in the de Menezes case, we can have some closure. It's all out in the open and there will be no further ambiguity about who is to blame, as evidenced by the following:


"This case thus provides no evidence at all of systematic failure" - Sir Ian Blair

"The failures were systemic" - David Davis



The most sensible reaction has of course been from a Member of Public who witnessed the incident: "But if he had been a terrorist and that train had been allowed to leave the station, I probably wouldn't be here." And if he'd been born a year later, and never travelled to Britain, it wouldn't have happened at all.

Some people are worried that the verdict will make police officers even more risk-averse than we are already. The point these people are missing is that the reason this happened is because of risk-aversion.

As yet, Blandshire Constabulary have issued no guidance about how we should respond in light of this ruling. I expect a new Suicide Bomber policy and online training package any day now. It will go along the lines of officers making risk assessments and ultimately being responsible for any mistakes made by anyone in the Senior Management Team.

On a sidenote, what exactly constitutes a "systematic" failure (or "systemic", for that matter)? Here are some suggestions:
  • No front-line supervisor on duty across three towns.
  • A force repeatedly being unable to resource emergencies.
  • Police officers frequently stuck in the station due to lack of vehicles.
  • Inability to fire unsatisfactory officers.
  • Incompetent officers being declared fit for independent patrol.
  • Court cases persistently being adjourned or even lost because there isn't enough cover to spare police witnesses from work.
Anyone got any evidence of these?

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